Palm Beach County administrator: We’re not a sanctuary county

trumpsanctuaryOn Thursday night — around the time the mayor of Miami-Dade County relented to pressure from the Trump administration about Miami-Dade’s designation of “sanctuary county” — Palm Beach County commissioners received an email from a “tax paying, registered democrat voting citizen” who urged them to follow the lead of their neighbor to the south.

There’s one problem.

“We never considered ourselves a sanctuary county,” Deputy County Administrator Jon Van Arnam said. “The board of county commissioners never took any action to make ourselves a sanctuary county.”

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Teri Barbera said in a statement that it’s Sheriff Ric Bradshaw’s policy “to follow Federal law as it relates to federal immigration detention requests. Furthermore, ‘PBC never has been or will be a sanctuary county’, per (Bradshaw.)”

Trump said earlier this week sanctuary cities — locales that don’t cooperate with immigration authorities — could lose millions of federal dollars. Many cities are vowing legal action, arguing the threatened punishment would be unconstitutional.

“Right decision. Strong,” the president tweeted Friday morning of the Miami-Dade action.

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

New Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks sworn in

Dorothy Jacks, longtime chief deputy to Gary Nikolits, is sworn in by retired Judge Mary Lupoi at the 1916 Palm Beach County Courthouse Tuesday, January 3, 2017. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Dorothy Jacks, longtime chief deputy to Gary Nikolits, is sworn in by retired Judge Mary Lupoi at the 1916 Palm Beach County Courthouse Tuesday, January 3, 2017. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

In the main courtroom of the historic 1916 Palm Beach County Courthouse, whose first tenant a century ago was Palm Beach County’s “tax assessor,” that post’s ninth incarnation was sworn in Tuesday.

With a big smile, and with her family looking on from the old jury box, new Palm Beach County Property Appraiser — that’s the title now — Dorothy Jacks took the oath of office from a woman whose children she’d baby-sat as a 13-year-old in Palm Beach Gardens: retired Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Mary Lupo.

“I would be lying if I didn’t say that was very emotional,” said Jacks, whose voice then faltered with emotion as she said, “there is really nothing better in life than a dream come true.”

Jacks noted that now four of the county’s six constitutional officers are women: herself, Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, Tax Collector Anne Gannon, and Clerk and Comptroller Sharon Bock, all of who attended Tuesday’s swearing-in. (The other two are State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who also attended, and Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, who was not there.)

Jacks worked in the property appraiser’s office for 28 years and was chief deputy since 2012 for Gary Nikolits, who stepped down after nearly a quarter-century at the post.

Ex-prosecutor: Palm Beach County government should pay criminal panel salaries

Van Arnam (Eliot Kleinberg/Post Staff)
Van Arnam (Eliot Kleinberg/Post Staff)
BarryKrischer052316
Krischer (Eliot Kleinberg/Post Staff)

Salaries for the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission should come out of a special taxing district or the general county budget, not from trust fund dollars that could be spent on crime prevention, former State Attorney Barry Krischer said Monday.

The commission’s proposed $3.63 million 2016-2017 budget – which the board preliminary approved at its meeting Monday — includes $531,383 in paychecks for Executive Director Kristina Henson and the CJC’s eight other staffers.

Of that, $241,970 comes from the Crime Prevention Trust Fund, a fund criminal defendants pay into as part of their penalties.

Krischer, who’s the commission’s treasurer, said that “for us to be taking crime prevention dollars and spending them on salaries  is unacceptable.” He said this is happening “as we have seen these grant dollars shrinking, and shrinking, and shrinking.”

Krischer said after the meeting he’s been lobbying for the special taxing district for close to two decades.

Deputy County Administrator Jon Van Arnam, sitting in at Monday’s meeting, told members the county is just now starting to assemble its 2016-2017 budget but noted that a combination of county taxes, grants and trust fund dollars will fully pay for next year’s drug court and criminal re-entry programs.

“You may not be totally pleased, but I think the budget picture is a little brighter than you portrayed it,” Van Arnam said.

“So,” commission Chair Lee Waring said, “our message to Jon and commissioners is, ’Thank you for your efforts, and keep it going, because we do need the help.”

Also Monday, the CJC voted to recommend Kevin Jones, assistant pastor at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, as its clergy representative. County commissioners make the pick.

Ethics panel: Sheriff, Clerk, others not subject to our scrutiny

Bannon
Bannon
Henson
Henson

Elected constitutional officers such as Clerk Sharon Bock and Sheriff Ric Bradshaw aren’t subject to the scrutiny of the Palm Beach County Commission on Ethics in their roles as members of the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission, because they don’t come under the jurisdiction of the ethics panel at all, its executive director says.

Bradshaw and Bock are mandatory members, but they have missed most meetings. They cite their busy schedules and the fact that their membership on the commission creates potential conflicts with Florida’s Government in the Sunshine Law.

Bradshaw also has said attending opens his constitutionally independent office to the scrutiny of the county Inspector General and the ethics commission.

Bradshaw and Bock are among 11 members of the panel who hold county or state posts, plus four federal representatives, who are not subject at all to the ethics commission, executive director Mark Bannon wrote justice commission’s new executive director Kristina Henson.

Bock
Bock

 

The memo, responding to Henson’s request for an advisory opinion, is in the agenda package for Thursday’s ethics commission meeting. It’s a draft, the wording

Bradshaw
Bradshaw

of which is expected to be approved without discussion in the panel’s “consent agenda.”

 

“Those persons who are required by ordinance to be a member of an advisory board of commission,” Bannon wrote, “do not meet the Code’s definition of an official” for the ethic’s commission’s purposes. He said that’s because they’re not appointed by the county commission.

Bannon said two members of law enforcement associations plus the head of the county’s Legislative Delegation might already be subject to the ethics panel by virtue of their regular jobs.

Palm Beach Post analysis published Dec. 7 found that six members of the Criminal Justice Commission, including County Clerk Sharon Bock and Sheriff Rick Bradshaw, have missed about 87 percent of the meetings since 2007.